Canon Digital IXUS 55 Review
(Canon PowerShot SD450 Digital ELPH in the USA)
Review Date: March 23rd 2006
The Canon Digital IXUS 55 is an ultra-compact 5 megapixel digital camera with a stylish and durable stainless steel body. It offers a 3x optical zoom lens which is equivalent to 35-105mm on a 35mm camera. The IXUS 55 (also known as the Powershot SD450) is Canon's smallest ever 3x zoom camera, but Canon have still managed to include a large 2.5 inch LCD screen and even an optical viewfinder. Other standout features on the IXUS 55 include the DIGIC II processor for fast camera operation, 640x480 movies at 30fps, a 9 point auto-focus system and 2.1fps continuous shooting mode. As well as offering a range of advanced features, the IXUS 55 should be something of a bargain too, as Canon announced a new updated model last month at PMA. So does the Canon Digital IXUS 55 offer enough to make you put your hand in your pocket? Read my review to find out.
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The Canon Digital IXUS 55 has a 5.3 megapixel, 1/2.5 inch CCD that delivers 5.0 effective megapixels. There are 3 image quality size settings available (Superfine, Fine and Normal) and 4 image size settings ((L)2592 x 1944, (M1)2048 x 1536, (M2)1600 x 1200, (S)640 x 480), which are recorded as JPEGs. There are no RAW or TIFF formats. The camera's 3x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 35-105mm lens on a 35mm format camera. There is also a 4x digital zoom should you feel the need to use it. The camera is supplied with a 16Mb Secure Digital (SD) Card and also supports MultiMediaCard (MMC) memory cards. The IXUS 55 is available in silver.
The Canon IXUS 55 offers Auto and Manual exposure modes plus 11 different scene modes (Digital Macro, Portrait, Night Snapshot, Scene Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater). The maximum aperture is f2.8 (wide) – f4.9 (tele), and the shutter speed range is 15 secs. – 1/1500 sec. There are 4 ISO speeds ranging from 50 to 400 and an Auto option. There are 5 different White Balance presets to choose from (Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H), plus Auto and Custom settings. The camera offers exposure compensation in ± 2 in 1/3 EV stops. The Canon Digital IXUS 55 offers 3 different auto-exposure metering options - Evaluative, Centre-weighted average and Spot (centre).
The IXUS 55 has a normal shooting mode, Self-timer (2 secs. 10 secs. or Custom) and a Continuous mode, which allows you take up to 2.1 frames/sec until the memory card is full. There are a number of different photo effects on offer - Vivid, Neutral, Low Sharpening, Sepia, Black & White, and My Colors (with 9 settings). The Macro setting allows you to focus on subjects that are as close as 3cms. The camera offers 2 auto-focusing systems - 9-point AiAF and 1-point AF (Fixed centre). You can also one of the 3 focus modes - Normal, Macro and Infinity. The built-in flash offers 5 different modes (Auto, On, Auto Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro, Off). The flash range is 50cm-3.5m (W) / 2.0m (T). An AF assist beam and Flash Exposure Lock are also available. Noise reduction is automatically applied to exposures greater than 1.3 seconds.
To compose your images, you can use the LCD monitor or the small optical viewfinder. The Canon Digital IXUS 55 has a 2.5 inch colour TFT LCD monitor which has 115,000 pixels and which offers 100% scene coverage. Brightness is adjustable to one of fifteen levels. The Canon IXUS 55 can record movies with sound at (L)640 x 480 at 30/15fps, (M)320 x 240 at 60/30/15fps and (S)160 x 120 at 15fps. Video is recorded in the AVI Motion JPEG format. The length of the video is only limited by the size of the memory card that you are using. You can also attach a 60 second or less sound clip to an image. A histogram is available in playback mode. The IXUS 55 supports the DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge printing standards, and it connects to a computer via USB 2.0.
The Canon Digital IXUS 55's dimensions are 86.0 (W) x 21.6 (D) x 53.5 (H) mm, and it weighs 140g without the battery and storage card fitted. The camera is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion Battery which allows you to take up to 150 shots before needing to be recharged. There is a metal tripod mount in the center-left of the bottom of the camera.
Finally, the standard box kit contains a rechargeable Li-ion Battery, Battery Charger, AV Cable, USB Cable, Wrist Strap, 16Mb SD Memory Card and a CD-ROM containing Canon software (ZoomBrowser EX (PhotoRecord), ImageBrowser, PhotoStitch, TWAIN Driver, ArcSoft PhotoStudio). Note that you can only store 5 images at the highest quality setting on the supplied 16Mb memory card. You will therefore need to invest in some more memory cards to store your images on.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Canon Digital IXUS 55 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.